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Mokume rings too soft


#1

Hi, I need some advice on what to do with a pair of mokune game
rings. The rings are very soft, and become marred with small
scratches, and the occasional deep pit after a month or so of wear.
They are made from 22k/sterling silver, 19 layers, from reactive
metals.

I have read a few archived posts on age hardening, do you think that
this would work on these rings? Will the mokune texture be destroyed
by prolonged heating? Or, because they are soldered(hard silver
solder) shut, is this technique unavailable because of a required
annealing?

Would I be better off attempting to work harden them, and then just
resizing?

For personal reasons, I can’t simply return these to the jeweller. I
would value any advice.

Thank you,
Andrew K


#2

22k and sterling mokume is an inappropriate material choice for a
ring that sees daily wear. There is nothing you can do to
substantially change the hardness of the metals as they are both too
soft even in their hardest state. Mokume rings need to have harder
metals included with the soft ones to provide for adequate wear
resistance. Even at fully hard sterling is not as hard as a typical
fully annealed 18k yellow gold. 22k will not even get that hard!

Some marginal increase in the sterling hardness can be achieved by
heating to just below the point where the solder used to join the
ring ends solidifies, holding there for a period of 30 minutes then
immediately quenching, followed by heating at 572 F for 1 hour. The
ring must be protected form exposure to oxygen during the 1 hour
high temperature soak, simple flux coating will not last for that
time period. The main concern is what solder was used and what is its
solidus temperature. Many solders are only listed by their flow or
liquidus temperature not their solidus temperature so you would need
to do some research on the solder used.

There is no heat treating option for the 22k

Jim
James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550